Guides of Keteka offers an inside look into the lives of the tour guides who work with Keteka to lead travelers on authentic, exciting, and meaningful adventures in Latin America. ___ Rime Hanco Vera, better known among travelers by his guide name “Jimmy,” captivates visitors to the Atacama Desert and the Uyuni Salt Flats with […]
Guides of Keteka offers an inside look into the lives of the tour guides who work with Keteka to lead travelers on authentic, exciting, and meaningful adventures in Latin America.
Rime Hanco Vera, better known among travelers by his guide name “Jimmy,” captivates visitors to the Atacama Desert and the Uyuni Salt Flats with his positive energy and deep knowledge of natural environments.
Jimmy leads tours for Expediciones Illari, a fairly new tour company made up of an indigenous Quechua family from Bolivia. Rooted to the land through his heritage, he shares insight into local culture and history and encourages travelers to respect local wildlife, landscapes, and people encountered on his tours in the Atacama Desert.
“I show what the desert has for those that come here — its authenticity, the mystery, all of that,”
Before Jimmy starting leading tours in the desert, he worked as nature guide in the Amazon for 10 years. Since then, he has continued to study biology, driven by his love for animals, especially birds. He has also studied ecotourism, and is committed to social and environmental responsibility in tourism.
Jimmy leads tours to all the major sites in the Atacama Desert, including the Tatio Geysers, Moon Valley, Altiplanic Lagoon, and Talar Salt Flats. He also takes travelers to the Uyuni Salt Flats on four-day round trip excursions.
He said he enjoys the constant flow of tourism in this region and meeting the diverse people who go on his experiences. “The best part of my job is getting to know tourists from all of the different countries — that have different feelings, psychological viewpoints,” he said. “In this way, I feed myself with the knowledge and experiences that I have with them.”
He teaches travelers about sustainable tourism practices, such as respect for the local landscapes and the people who call the area home.
Jimmy encourages travelers to research the climate of the Atacama Desert before their trip so they can best prepare for the often unpredictable weather. “The changes in the weather in a desert are drastic,” he said. “For example, in the summer, it gets very hot, but during the night, it gets freezing.”
Jimmy recalled one incident with a traveler who read on Lonely Planet that the summer is the best season to visit the desert, but it stormed during his trip there. Jimmy said the storms occur about every five to six years, but even so, the weather fluctuates so much it is impossible to predict. “I always make the point that the climate does not depend on us; it’s on Pachamama (Mother Earth) — it depends on her,” he said.
The best way to prepare for a trip to Atacama is to research and pack the right clothes to stay warm or cool no matter how the weather changes, Jimmy said. He does his best to assist all travelers on their adventures to this extreme part of the world and encourages everyone to make the trip to the desert at some point in their lives.